Significant drought is still impacting the 2023 winter wheat crop. The latest USDA weekly weather and crop bulletin noted, “Winter wheat abandonment for 2023 is pegged at 32.6%.” If the estimate holds true, it would be the nation’s highest winter wheat abandonment rate since 1917 during World War I. The rate hit 28.8% in 1951; otherwise, the only years where more than 25% were abandoned were 2002 and 2022.

USDA’s estimate implies 1 out of every 3 acres of winter wheat seeded in the fall of 2022 will be abandoned due to drought. Texas receives the brunt of the acreage with 70% wheat abandonment, and Oklahoma is pegged at 53%. Social media informal research shows wheat growers may look to grain sorghum on abandoned winter wheat ground to take advantage of the late-season rains expected this fall with the emergence of El Niño.

Read more on winter wheat abandonment here.